Terrie Posick of Shelton prepared to make another cup of coffee on Friday morning. Glancing at the clock, she noticed it was 10:16 a.m.
That’s when she heard a loud boom. “There was a loud one and then multiple ones afterward,” said the High Plains Road resident. “Our house rumbled.”
Her first thought was there had been a multi-vehicle crash outside her house — but that was unlikely, leaving on a dead-end road with limited traffic.
“I went outside and all I saw was smoke going into the sky,” Posick said. “The whole back of the house next door was in flames.”
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Screaming to warn neighbors
Posick immediately called 9-1-1 — the time now was 10:19 — and started running around the neighborhood to warn people what was happening at 9 High Plains Road. She made the first call to 9-1-1. She also called her husband at work.
“It was like a ball of fire when I went out,” Posick said. “I was screaming. I was freaking out. I was scared.”
A man showed up and began putting on his firefighting gear, and told Posick to tell the 9-1-1 dispatcher that at least three fire departments would be needed.
A five-alarm blaze
Soon, all four of Shelton’s volunteer fire companies as well as the Derby department would show up to battle the residential blaze, which caused severe damage to the two-story home.
Fire officials have determined the fire was caused by an occupant discarding a cigarette in a flower pot with mulch on the back deck of the damaged house.
Posick expects the house will be torn down and rebuilt. The family next door, now staying at a hotel due to the damage, is uncertain exactly what they will do, she said.
Was worried about the dog
No people were inside the house at the time, but a family dog perished. Posick’s thoughts had focused on the dog because she presumed no family members were home due to the lack of cars in the driveway and the time of day.
“My kids would play with the dog as well as the family’s younger son,” Posick said.
It was a small, white dog named Lucky, perhaps a Lhasa Apso, she said.
She also had to concentrate on getting her family’s six cats and one dog out of her house because they were ordered to evacuate, with the fire only 15 to 20 feet away. “The firefighters said we had to get out,” Posick said.
She put her dog in her car and moved her cats to a neighbor’s house.
Firefighters doused her family’s house with water to protect it while battling the blaze next door.
‘A friendly, quiet neighborhood’
Like most of the neighbors, Posick didn’t know the family who lived in the fire-damaged house particularly well. She knew there was a mom, dad and three children, with her children having some interaction with their youngest child.
“We introduced ourselves when they moved in a few years ago, and we’d talk in passing, such as after snowstorms,” she said.
Posick and her family have lived on High Plains Road for 11 years. She described the area as “a friendly, quiet neighborhood,” with many older residents.
High Plains Road is a hilly dead-end street off Long Hill Avenue, on the southern outskirts of downtown Shelton. It is not too far from Exit 13 of Route 8 (Constitution Boulevard). A section of Long Hill Avenue was closed during firefighting efforts.